Braskem to build new polyethylene plant at Texas Gulf Coast complex

Braskem plans to build a new polyethylene (PE) plant at its existing complex in La Porte, Texas, the resins producer confirmed on Monday.

The new plant will manufacture ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene (UHMWPE), making it the first time for Braskem to produce UHMWPE outside of its home base in Brazil.

Construction on the plant will begin in the third quarter of 2014, with completion expected in the first half of 2016.

“We believe our investment reinforces Braskem’s dedication to the plastics industry and to our strategic markets and clients,” said Braskem America CEO Fernando Musa.

Braskem sells the UHMWPE material under the UTEC brand name, noting that it offers high abrasion resistance and impact strength. The material is eight times lighter than steel and lasts 10 times longer than high-density PE, they added. Industries that use UTEC include construction, automotive, coal, mining and wastewater treatment.

“This is the next logical step for our UTEC business as we have been providing UTEC to clients in the United States and Europe for over 10 years," said Musa. "Further, this new plant will potentially enable Braskem to serve more markets than we have been able to serve in the past."

Braskem acquired the La Porte complex from Sunoco in 2010. It has 330,000 tpy of polypropylene (PP) capacity, according to news reports.

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